December 1922


Neutral IRA formed and led by Sean O’Hegarty and Florrie O’Donoghue.  Made up of pre-Truce IRA men who took neither side in Civil War.  It becomes involved in various peace moves.  (O’Donoghue claims a membership of 20,000.) A convention was organised in Dublin in February 1923 but the organisation was wound up in March 1923.


Hopkinson (1988), pg 185;  Farry (2012), pg 105


The Meath/North Kildare anti-Treaty column, led by Paddy Mullaney, is captured near Pike’s Bridge, Leixlip on the Dublin-Kildare border after a long fight. One pro-Treaty soldier (Private Haran or Private Joseph Moran) is killed.  22 are taken prisoner.  Five are found to be deserters from the pro-Treaty army – they had been stationed at Baldonnel Aerodrome.  Six (including all five of the deserters) are subsequently executed on the 8th January.


Hopkinson (1988), pg 220; Dorney (2017), pg 165; Durney (2011), pgs 103-105


Anti-Treaty volunteer, Captain Patrick Cormack, is shot in an altercation with pro-Treaty soldiers in Johnstown, Co Kilkenny.

Walsh (2018), pg 213


Pro-Treaty Private John Dooley from Loughbrown, Newbridge killed in an explosion in Wexford.

Durney (2011), pg 101


Twenty-six year old William Brosnan is shot dead in the main street of Castleisland, Co. Kerry.

Doyle (2008), pg 226


Anti-Treaty forces attack village of Ballymakeera, Co Cork.


Hart (1998), pg 119


Pro-Treaty Corporal George McGlynn from Forge, New Row, Naas, Co. Kildare dies of his wounds.

Durney (2011), pg 101


First civic guards arrive in Listowel, Co. Kerry.

Doyle (2008), pg 226-227


In England, the “Irish Free State Constitution Bill” and “Irish Free State (Consequential Provisions) Bill” receive royal assent.  The king also approved the appointment of Tim Healy as Governor-General designate of the Irish Free State. 


Macardle (1999), pg 820; Curran J M (1980), pg 263


The Dáil approves the Saorstát Éireann Act which ratifies the Constitution of the Irish Free State.  In British terms, the members of the Provisional Parliament met as the Lower House of the Parliament of the Irish Free State.  This House continued to designate itself as the Dáil.  No anti-Treaty deputy was present.  All deputies took the Oath of Allegiance but the Labour Party members took it under protest.  (Tom Johnson said that the oath would not restrict the Labour Party if and when the people chose to denounce the Treaty and change the constitution.) Curran says that the TDs took the oath on the 6th.


O'Farrell P (1997), pg xxiii; Macardle (1999), pg 820; Curran J M (1980), pg 264


After two previous attempts to retake Kenmare, Co. Kerry by pro-Treaty forces had failed (the town had been in anti-Treaty hands since early September – see 9th September), three columns of pro-Treaty troops set out to re-take the town. All three convoys arrive in Kenmare on the 6th and meet no resistance. Following the capture of Kenmare, 14 anti-Treaty men taken prisoner.

Doyle (2008), pg 229 & 233


The British king signs the proclamation announcing the adoption of the constitution and the Irish Free State (Saorstát Éireann) comes officially into being. At a meeting of the Dáil, (Curran says this was the first meeting of the Free State Parliament), Cosgrave is elected President of the Executive Council.  He nominated the other members of the Executive Council – each keeping the post they had in the cabinet of the Provisional Government while Cosgrave still kept Finance to himself.  Members were Richard Mulcahy, Kevin O’Higgins, Ernest Blythe, Eoin MacNeill, Joe McGrath and Desmond Fitzgerald.  O’Higgins was also vice-President. 

Later in the day, nominations and elections to the Senate took place – the members included Oliver St John Gogarty; Andrew Jameson, John Bagwell, Sir Bryan Mahon, Sir Horace Plunkett, William Butler Yeats, Colonel Maurice Moore, Alice Stopford Green, Ellen Cuffe (Dowager Countess of Desart) and James Douglas.  (Curran says that the fact that a sizable number of the Senate were Protestant and unionist showed the new government’s desire to reconcile them to the new order.)  Shortly after this date, the remaining British troops leave Dublin with the last ones leaving on Dec 17th.  (Macready had stayed in command of 5,000 troops.)


O'Farrell P (1997), pg xxiii; Curran J M (1980), pg 263;



Northern Ireland votes itself out of Free State by the stipulation that permitted this in the Treaty.  Craig says that as the Northern Government is not a party to the Treaty, they would refuse to nominate a member to the Boundary Commission which he held to be ultra vires. He also expressed the hope that real feelings of friendship might come about between the two communities in the northern state.  Comment


Augusteijn (2002), pg 235; Macardle (1999), pg 821; Phoenix (1994), pgs 266-267

Dec -07

GHQ of the pro-Treaty army sends a memo to all commands saying that the 1st and 2nd Northern Divisions (which had been previously amalgamated) were to be stood down and “communications are not to be sent to them until further notice”.

(Gallagher says 1st and 2nd Northern Divisions but it is possible that it should have read 2nd and 3rd Northern Divisions as the pro-Treaty 1st Northern Division (covering Donegal under Joe McSweeney) was very much still in operation whereas most of the IRA men from the 2nd and 3rd Northern Divisions were either in prison or in the Curragh.)  Also see March 31st 1923.

Gallagher (2003), pg 41


Anti-Treaty members of the Dublin No.1 Brigade ASU assassinate pro-Treaty TD Sean Hales outside the Ormond Hotel on Ormond Quay in Dublin and wound another TD (Padraig O'Maille).  Dorney says that one of the two men who carried out the killing was Owen Donnelly from Glasnevin.

The Executive Council meets in emergency session and express fears that this killing and wounding were the start of an assassination campaign as outlined in Lynch’s letter of the 27th November.  They agree to the execution of four jailed anti-Treaty leaders as they expected resignations from the Dáil.  O’Higgins expressed reservations - he had been best man at the wedding of the one of those it was proposed to execute (Rory O’Connor) – but he is persuaded and then he helps to persuade McGrath (who arrived late).  The decision is unanimous.  There is not even the formality of a drumhead court martial.


O’Donoghue (1986), pg 279; Hopkinson (1988), pg 190-191; Curran J M (1980), pg 265; Dorney (2017), pgs 215-218


Seventeen-year-old Annie Cardwell is killed in her home in Cellbridge, Co Kildare when a visiting anti-Treaty volunteer accidently discharges his rifle. 

Durney (2011), pg 158


The Irish News, responding to Craig’s statement on the Boundary Commission disagrees with his interpretation but goes on to say that it will have no effect on the destinies of perhaps two-thirds of northern nationalists. It went on to call for nationalist unity and advocated the Belfast nationalist preference for ‘a method of settlement by mutual agreement’.


Phoenix (1994), pg 268


Rory O'Connor (Monkstown, Co. Dublin); Liam Mellows (Wexford and Galway); Joe McKelvey (Stewardstown, Co. Tyrone) and Richard (Dick) Barrett (Ballineen, Co. Cork) are executed by pro-Treaty forces in Mountjoy after the cabinet had explicitly ordered the executions as a reprisal for the shootings the previous day.  More Detail 

O'Farrell P (1997), pg xxiii & 222 & 223; Hopkinson (1988), pg 191; Macardle (1999), pgs 822-823; Curran J M (1980), pg 266; Dorney (2017), pgs 216-218


William Harrington (23) is shot dead in Tralee, Co. Kerry by a pro-Treaty soldier.

Doyle (2008), pgs 231-232


Speaking of de Valera, O’Higgins says in the Dáil “Outside you have a President who was defeated in his candidature for the Presidency, even in that Second Dáil he talks so much about, a President who fitly enough chooses as his Council of State, for the most part, men who were refused a mandate from any constituency … and fitly enough that President and Council of State has a thing which it calls an Army but simply has degenerated into a combination of Apaches”.

Also, speaking in the Dáil, Ernest Blythe says “if we did not take the action we took [in June 1922], so far from Irregularism falling to pieces, they [the anti-Treaty forces] would have carried out a coup d’etat and there would be no Dáil sitting here now”.

Garvin (1996), pgs 31-32


Liam Lynch issues an order stating that “all Free State supporters are traitors and deserve the latter’s stark fate, therefore their houses must be destroyed at once”.  This led to numerous arson and other attacks on the homes of pro-Treaty supporters.  Between 10th December and April 1923, the Dublin anti-Treaty Brigade destroyed 28 civilian homes, six income tax offices and a number of hotels.

Dorney (2017), pgs 220 & 222


Anti-Treaty volunteers arrive at the house of pro-Treaty TD Sean McGarry in Fairview, Dublin.  Despite meeting strong opposition from neighbours, they manage to burn it down.  McGarry’s seven-year-old son, Emmet, dies in the blaze. This same night, the house of Michael McDunphy, Assistant Secretary to the Government, in Clonliffe is subjected to an arson attack.  There were also arson and bomb attacks on the home of J.J. Walsh, the Postmaster General, and on the home of Jenny Wyse Power, the leader of the pro-Treaty Cumman na Saoire. 

Dorney (2017), pgs 220 & 221


A large group of anti-Treaty volunteers set fire to the goods store at Waterford North railway station causing between £50,000 and £100,000 worth of damage.

McCarthy (2015), pg 114


Pro-Treaty forces capture Pax Whelan (O/C anti-Treaty Waterford Brigade) and his brother Seán.  Whelan was a member of the anti-Treaty Army Executive.

McCarthy (2015), pg 113


The Free State Senate meets for the first time and James Campbell (Lord Glenavy) is elected chairman with only two dissenting votes.  One former loyalist states “The past is dead, not only for us but for this country.  We are assembled here no longer in a Nationalist or Unionist sense, but merely as members of the Senate.”  (Macardle says 9th.)


Curran J M (1980), pgs 264-265; Macardle (1999), pg 821


An anti-Treaty prisoner, Hugh Gallagher, is shot when trying to escape from Drumboe Castle in Co. Donegal.  He later dies from his wounds.

Ó Duibhir (2011), pgs 214-215


The home (office?) of Chief State Solicitor M. A. Corrigan, in Dame St., Dublin is set on fire and, in January, his home in Leinster Road, Rathmines is blown up.  There is also an attempt this night to kill Richard Mulcahy at Kelly’s Corner in Dublin.

Dorney (2017), pg 221


Anti-Treaty GHQ issue a general order not to kill unarmed members of the Civic Guard.

Garvin (1996), pg 111


Tom Barry leads a column of about 100 anti-Treaty men into Carrick-on-Suir and a gun battle ensues with the pro-Treaty soldiers in the town with two pro-Treaty soldiers and one civilian shot.  One pro-Treaty soldier, Lieutenant James Gardiner, later dies of his wounds.  Eventually, the pro-Treaty soldiers surrender and they are marched to the Main St.  The anti-Treaty men capture 107 fifles, two Lewis machine guns, a Crossley tender and two motor cars.  (Walsh says 9th December.)  The pro-Treaty men are released unharmed after a few days. 

Hopkinson (1988), pg 209; O'Farrell P (1997), pg 142 & 143; Walsh (2018), pg 214 & 218


Ten men from the anti-Treaty Rathbride Column are captured in a dugout under the stables of the Moore’s farm in Mooresbridge, near the Curragh, Co. Kildare.  I/O of the anti-Treaty Kildare Brigade, Thomas Behan, is killed in suspicious circumstances either during this capture or afterwards – see 19th December 

Durney (2011), pgs 122-125

Dec- 14-15

Pro-Treaty Army posts at Callan, Mullinavat and Thomastown taken by anti-Treaty forces led by Tom Barry, Bill Quirke, Dinny Lacey and Ned Aylward without a shot being fired.  The pro-Treaty O/C at Callan, Capt Edward Somers, had gone over to the anti-Treaty side.  In each case, he gains entrance the pro-Treaty posts by pretending to be still on their side.  Other pro-Treaty officers and men also changed sides.  A lot of arms of arms and ammunition is captured by the anti-Treaty men and the barracks destroyed.  The capture of these posts is a major embarrassment to the pro-Treaty government.  The cabinet demand that Prout be dismissed but Mulcahy ignores them.  (O’Farrell says 9th December.) 

O’Donoghue (1986), pg 280; O'Farrell P (1997), pg 142 & 143; Walsh (2018), pgs 214-218


Pro-Treaty army column is attacked twice when travelling between Barraduff and Rathmore in Co. Kerry resulting in the death of pro-Treaty Private Matthew Ferguson. 



A civilian, Patrick Martin, who was trying to report two anti-Treaty volunteers in Piltown, Co. Kilkenny is shot by mistake by pro-Treaty soldiers and he dies soon afterwards.

Walsh (2018), pg 247-248


Last British soldiers leave Dublin.



Anti-Treaty forces stop a train near Kilmeaden, Co. Waterford and burn it.

McCarthy (2015), pg 114


The home of James Campbell (see December 11th) in Kimmage, Dublin is burnt by anti-Treaty volunteers.

Dorney (2017), pg 222


At the final meeting of the outgoing Derry City Council, the mayor, H C O’Doherty, accused Craig of disfranchising the minority and reducing them to the condition of serfs.


Phoenix (1994), pg 268


Anti-Treaty forces capture pro-Treaty position in Sligo Town Hall. One pro-Treaty soldier is killed and the anti-Treaty volunteers make away with 21 rifles, 4 revolvers and 1,300 rounds of ammunition.

Farry (2012), pg 104


O/C of pro-Treaty forces in Kerry, General W. R. E. Murphy announces that four captured anti-Treaty men have been sentenced to death but that the executions will only be carried out if there are any further attacks on his men in the area. O/C of anti-Treaty Kerry No. 1 Brigade had put up posters in Tralee saying that eight named pro-Treaty supporters would be killed if the four men were executed.

Also, pro-Treaty Private Mulhall from Dublin is killed in Dingle, Co. Kerry. 


Macardle (1999), pg 823; Doyle (2008), pgs 235-236


Anti-Treatyites Patrick Bagnall (from Fairgreen, Co. Kildare); Patrick Nolan (from Rathbridge, Co. Kildare); Stephen White (from Abbey St, Kildare); Joseph Johnson (from Station Rd, Kildare); Patrick Mangan (from Fairgreen, Co. Kildare); James (or Joseph) O’Connor (from Bansha, Co. Tipperary) and Brian or Byran Moore (Rathbridge, Co. Kildare) are executed in the Curragh Camp.  The seven were captured in a dug-out at Mooresbridge at the edge of the Curragh in Co. Kildare on the 13th December.  They were armed with rifles bought from a soldier stationed in Naas Barracks.  They were known as the Rathbride Column – Thomas Behan (see 13th December) was also a member. Bryan Moore was the column O/C.


O'Farrell P (1997), pgs 222 - 225; Macardle (1999), pg 823 & 984; Durney (2011), pgs 121-135



Pro-Treaty soldier Patrick Fitzgerald is shot dead at a pub near Beggars Bush Barracks in Dublin.  Seamus Dwyer, former pro-Treaty TD, is shot dead in his shop in Rathmines, Dublin by Bobby Bonfield (QM and acting O/C of the 4th Battalion, Dublin anti-Treaty Brigade)

Dorney (2017), pg 224


The Belfast to Dublin train is boarded by anti-Treaty volunteers at Castlebellingham, Co. Louth.  Passengers are order to disembark and the train is shunted into a siding and derailed.  The carriages are burnt.  A goods train, making its way north, was also stopped.  The driver and fireman were ordered of the engine and the train was set driverless down the track where it crashed into the stationary passenger train, 

Lawlor (2011), pgs 319-320


The home of Thomas Blennerhasset at Cullenagh, Beaufort, Co. Kerry is burnt down by anti-Treatyites.  See June 16th above.

Doyle (2008), pgs 236-237


Pro-Treaty Captain Fred Lidwell, an assistant legal officer, is accidently shot dead in Kilkenny Military Barracks. 

Walsh (2018), pgs 218-220



Two anti-Treaty men -  Gerald Fitzgibbon and Joseph O’Connor - sentenced for the killing of Lieutenant Hanrahan (see October 17th) escape from Frederick St Barracks in Limerick.  A 17-year old, Kathleen Hehir, is shot dead during the pursuit of the two escapees.

O’Callaghan (2018), pg 114


During an altercation between civilians and pro-Treaty soldiers in Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny, a shot is fired by a pro-Treaty soldier which hits 19-year-old civilian Edward Burke in the head and he dies a few hours later.

Walsh (2018), pg 248


A Christmas party is taking place in Flowerhill Orange Lodge outside Lisburn and is joined by a patrol of four B Specials.  A bullet is accidently discharged from the rifle of one of the Special Constables killing 19-year old James Haire and wounding two others.

Lawlor (2011), pgs 321-322


James Mangan, a 19-year old from Killarney, Co Kerry is shot dead when he is walking through the Spa/Fair Hill area. 



Writing to De Valera, Liam Lynch says “what I hope is to bring the enemy to bankruptcy and make it impossible for a single Government Department to function”

Dorney (2017), pg 6 & 142


In what could have been a reprisal for the killing of Seamus Dwyer (see 20th December), an anti-Treaty volunteer, Francis Lawlor, is taken from his home in Ranelagh, Dublin and brought to Milltown in south Dublin and shot dead.  (His body is dumped on  Orwell Road.)

Dorney (2017), pgs 1-2 and 224-225


The Methodist chapel at Ballylocknane, near Adare, Co Limerick was destroyed by fire.

O’Callaghan (2018), pg 124


After their sentences were confirmed by the local pro-Treaty divisional commander, John T. Prout, anti-Treatyites John Murphy (from Bishopslough, Bennettsbridge, Co. Kilkenny) and John Phelan (from Committee, Thomastown, Kilkenny) are executed in Kilkenny.  The two men had been arrested on the 13th December in the home of Murphy’s mother in possession of two rifles, a revolver, two bombs and ammunition. 

(O’Farrell says these two men were executed on 29th Dec 1923 but that is almost definitely incorrect.)

Macardle (1999), pg 984; O'Farrell P (1997), pg 224; McCarthy (2015), pg 115; Walsh (2018), pg 220-223


Two pro-Treaty soldiers killed (Private John Talty of Lisadeen, Co. Clare and Private Henry McLoughlin of Buncrana, Co. Donegal) and two wounded in an attack on a foot patrol near Castlegregory, Co. Kerry.

Despite these two killings, the four anti-Treaty volunteers held under threat of execution (see December 20th) were not shot. Instead, their sentences were commuted to ten years’ penal servitude.

Horgan (2018), pg 90; Doyle (2008), pgs 239-240; Ó Duibhir (2011), pg 218


The body of a civilian, Jack Doyle, was found near Annagassen in Co. Louth.  He was shot by anti-Treaty volunteers as a spy. 

Hall (2019), pg 112


Jim Sugrue, O/C 6th Battallion, anti-Treaty Kerry No. 1 Brigade is captured along with one his company captains, Paddy McMahon, at Trieneragh, four miles from Listowel.

Horgan (2018), pgs 131-132


Two civilians are shot dead in Waterford City.  Pierse Murphy is shot dead in Doyle St and Thomas Cullen is mortally wounded when walking near the Artillery Barracks.  At their inquests, pro-Treaty soldiers claimed that they shot back after they were shot at but this is disputed by witnesses.  Around this time, another civilian, John O’Shea is killed by sentry at the city jail.

McCarthy (2015), pgs 114-115


Craig supplied with information that between 1st April and 31st December 1922, 1,685 men left [the six counties] to join the pro-Treaty army – 181 from Derry - of whom 246 returned.  Main reason for men signing up would seem to have been poverty.  Recruiting was not interfered with by the Northern Ireland authorities as the majority of those signing up were, according to the RUC “out of works” and “ne’er do wells”. 

Some 30 Protestants also joined the pro-Treaty army.  The RUC reported that the Dublin government were anxious to recruit unionist ex-soldiers and ex-Specials as they were likely to be far more vigorous in the execution of their duties against Republicans  than those joining from the Free State.

McDermott (2001), pg 275; Grant (2018), pg 145


Sometime in late 1922, Ernst Blythe says “The first step towards progress is a clear recognition of the fact that, instead of being a race of super-idealists whose misfortunes are due entirely to the crimes and blunders of outside enemies, we are an untrained and undisciplined people with practically everything to learn of the difficult business of organising national life on a stable basis … We are marching into freedom ankle-deep in blood, and by all signs we are likely to go deeper still.”

Garvin (1996), pg 60


In answer to the pro-Treaty argument, that the Treaty was the will of the people, an anti-Treaty handbill reads “if you had answered the will of the people in 1914 you would have gone to the Flanders.  If you had answered the will of the people in Easter Week, you would have lynched Patrick Pearse”.  Further evidence of the difficulties which the legacy of 1916 posed for the pro-Treaty side.  See also March 27th above.

Dorney (2017), pg 148


IRB revived by pro-Treaty members of GHQ in order to stop it being taken over by anti-Treatyites (but excluded Liam Tobin and other members of Collins’s old Intelligence/Squad network).


Hopkinson (1988), pg 53


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